Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adventures in Etymology.

Joe Klein:

As an inveterate lover of  neologisms, I am fiercely approviating of Sarah Palin's recent coinage: she called on peace-loving Muslisms [sic] to refudiate the proposed mosque at the World Trade Center site. This continues two grand American political traditions. The first is benign. Those politicians who have only a passing familiarity with proper English tend to be the most creative when it comes to wordiating. Warren G. Harding was responsible for two classics: "normalcy" (as opposed to "normality") and my all-time favorite "bloviating."

I can't speak to normalcy, but I believe Mr. Klein is wrong about bloviating. In his defense, he has company, including Merriam-Webster, which dates the word to 1879 -- at which time Harding was 12 years old.

Here's a graf from the 1867 edition of The New York Times:

It does seem safe to say, however, that Harding popularized the word.

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